Professor Prash Rangan and two students in the lab looking at a specimen
Two male students smiling and looking over a book together in a lab.
Professor Prash Rangan looks through a microscope.
Two female students sitting in front of two microscopes.

Becoming a Resilient Scientist Workshop and Facilitated Discussion Series 2021

This is a pilot program hosted by The University at Albany and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in collaboration with the NIH Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) and sponsored by the NIH/NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity. We sre offering this program as an offshoot of our NIGMS-sponsored training programs.

UAlbany logo RPI logo NIH Office of Intramural Training & Education logo


Navigating school, the career exploration process, research environments, and the stress of life can seem overwhelming and lead us to doubt ourselves just when we need confidence the most. The goal of this series is to help you develop the resilience you need to navigate challenging situations in school, work and life. The series will consist of six webinars, each followed by a small group discussion the following week. The webinars will highlight emotional intelligence competencies needed for academic success and for thriving in research and healthcare careers. We will discuss the cultivation of skills to help you realize resilience and identify and deal with obstacles that get in your way. While you may participate in any of the webinars, it is best to participate in the entire series as the material relates and concepts will be developed throughout the series. Participants are expected to watch each of the webinars and journal or reflect upon the resilience tools and strategies presented prior to the small group, confidential discussions in the following week. Participants who attend all six small group meetings and complete the evaluation survey of this pilot program will be awarded a certificate of completion by the NIH.

Past participants that completed this program at the NIH said that they:

  • Gained important skills that help in their work/home (91%)
  • Have seen improvements in the way they think about work/life (81%)
  • Learned to manage conflict better (76%)
  • Learned to manage stress better (76%)
  • Have become more resilient (84%)
  • Have become better scientists (65%)


Participants will watch the webinars listed below. These will be followed the next week by a synchronous discussion with the program co-facilitators, RPI’s Professor Deepak Vashishth, Director, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Science, and UA’s Distinguished Professor Marlene Belfort, director of the Life Sciences Research Program. Please note: because this is a pilot program from the NIH intended to train our facilitators, an observer from the NIH will be attending the small group discussions.


ALL webinars are from 2:00PM-4:00PM in real-time (which includes a live Q&A), or a recording can be watched asynchronously later. Group meetings held together with UA and RPI students and faculty co-facilitators will occur biweekly at 4:00PM on Thursdays via Zoom starting February 4 and running through the end of May.

January 26, 2021 - An introduction to wellness and resilience

We all experience setback and disappointments in science, work and life. In this webinar we will look at seven key elements of resilience with a focus on building habits that promote healthier responses and resilient behaviors in the face of set-back in educational and work environments.

UA/RPI group meeting: February 4, 2021

February 15, 2021 - Understanding cognitive distortions, imposter fears and stereotype threat

We tell ourselves stories about what is happening to us and around us. In this webinar we will explore how our self-talk is generated and look at ways our self-talk can either help us be more resilient or how it can hurt us and hold us back. We will look at two important elements of our self-talk, cognitive distortions and imposter fears and explore ways to recognize internal messages and input from others that distorts our views of our abilities and accomplishments.

UA/RPI group meeting: February 25, 2021

March 8, 2021 - Emotional intelligence and emotion in the workplace

Emotions can play a critical role in how we communicate, navigate relationships, and manage conflict. In this webinar we will discuss Emotional Intelligence and emotions and how they influence our resilience as scientists.

UA/RPI group meeting: March 18, 2021

March 30, 2021 - Self-advocacy and assertiveness for scientists

We all need to develop the skills needed to be assertive and to advocate for ourselves, especially in hierarchical environments where we sometimes feel we do not have a voice. In this webinar, we will discuss how to set boundaries, communicate expectations, ask for feedback and discuss difficult issues with friends, mentors, colleagues and supervisors.

UA/RPI group meeting: April 8, 2021

April 20, 2021 - Developing feedback resilience

We all need feedback to grow and learn but we often become defensive and are unable to learn from the feedback we receive, even if it is delivered well. In this webinar, we will talk about why receiving feedback is so difficult and explore ways to stay calm and engaged when receiving feedback. We will also talk about giving feedback in a calm and assertive way so that our voice can be heard.

UA/RPI group meeting: April 29, 2021

May 10, 2021 - Maximizing mentoring relationships

We all need mentors to support and encourage us throughout our educational and career journey. In this webinar, we will talk about the mentoring relationship in research environments with a focus on improving your relationship with your PI, finding mentors and on improving communication and interpersonal interactions. The webinar will help clarify what you need from your supervisors and mentors and address how to get what you need from these important interactions.

UA/RPI group meeting: May 20, 2021


Marlene Belfort, Ph.D., Co-Director (T32; NIGMS) Training Program
Distinguished Professor, Senior Advisor of RNA Institute
Director, Life Sciences Research Program - University at Albany

Deepak Vashishth, Ph.D., Director, (T32; NIGMS) Training Program
Biomolecular Science and Engineering
Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute